Combatting social isolation through digital

Health for All (Leeds) Ltd is a Leeds based charity working to change people’s lives and transform local communities.  Their vision is Health & wellbeing for all, Equipping people with the confidence and skills to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. Supporting vulnerable older adults, children, carers, young people and families. 

At the beginning of the pandemic Health for All partnered with 100% Digital Leeds and worked to embed digital inclusion within their organisation and services to support their service users at risk of social isolation and who were most vulnerable. 

100% Digital Leeds Tablet Lending scheme enabled Health for All to lend tablets out to their service users most in need in lockdown:

“One iPad supported a 69-year-old woman we work with who has mobility & health issues who was referred to us by Linking Leeds due to a deterioration in her mental health in the first lockdown.   

She was feeling even more isolated as she didn’t have as much contact with one of her son’s & no contact at all with her other son, due to him being in a care home.

I had a doorstep visit with her and we went through the log in process & the basic functions of the iPad.  I talked about things she likes to do, we downloaded YouTube & shared the wide range of things she can access on YouTube like music and the news.  We also downloaded a jigsaw puzzle app and a crossword app. 

Her confidence, skills and motivation in using the tablet has developed so much and it’s impacted massively on improving her mental health, keeping her socially connected and able to stay healthy through the pandemic”

Health for All staff took a real holistic approach in supporting their members with digital, with support via 100% Digital Leeds Digital Champion Training, the tools and resources they used and by taking a person-centred approach has encouraged their members to take their first steps online and to overcome barriers.  This has inspired other members to see the benefits to being online and overcoming fear and worries about the online world. 

“I also supported her with downloading reading apps, facetime and Skype which enabled her to connect with others, seeing her sons on the screen!  It’s incredibly life-changing and so special, the improvement in her mental health has been very apparent and she is now encouraged to join zoom sessions and engage in activities. 

She “has a bash at using it every day”, which is building her confidence and digital skills, she says the best thing is that it helps her stay stimulated throughout the long days.  

She plays digital games, (Who Wants to be a Millionaire) and wants to now learn how to look at photos and history of her local area Hunslet.   

She has low confidence and felt that she was not very good with technology but is surprised at her learning and how it’s changed her life.  She says she has the radio on the iPad now and enjoys this as “it breaks the silence”.

Thank you to Health for All for sharing this case study, it’s great to see the impact of introducing digital into someone’s life, this support is enabling many other older people within Health for All to develop their digital skills and confidence especially through this hard time.